Darkfin Hind – Facts and Photographs

(Cephalopholis nigripinnis)Banded-tail Coral-cod, Blackfin Rockcod, Duskyfin Rockcod Cephalopholis nigripinnis

TheDarkfin Hind (Cephalopholis nigripinnis) is also known as the Blackfin Rockcod and the Duskyfin Rockcod.  They are fairly common off the coast of Tanzania. They are not that common in the Dar es Salaam area which is heavily overfished. Because of the overfishing they are generally only seen in deeper waters.

APPEARANCE

The Darkfin Hind has a fairly typical grouper shape. It’s typical coloration is a reddish black with the black being more predominant on the caudal area. The pectoral,caudal and anal fins are a blackish  colour and the dorsal fin is a red changing to black on the rear.  They grow up to 30 cm in length.

(Cephalopholis nigripinnis)Banded-tail Coral-cod, Blackfin Rockcod, Duskyfin Rockcod Cephalopholis nigripinnis

IN THE WILD

The Darkfin Hind is shy in the Tanzanian coastal waters and tends to head for cover at the first sign of a diver. This is undoubtedly due to the dynamite fishing which was prevalent in the past but has now thankfully been stopped. On the offshore islands of Mafia and Zanzibar they are not as shy. They are often seen lying in ambush in a prominent spot, waiting for prey to pass by.  In the depths where red light does not penetrate their colours give them very good camouflage as they appear a darkish brown colour.

HABITAT

Darkfin Hind are found on the East African coast from South Africa to Kenya across to Western Sumatra including the Maldives, Comoros and Reunion and Mauritius. They have also been recorded on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. On the Tanzanian mainland coast they are mainly seen from 20 meters downwards and particulaerly on walls that drop off into deeper waters.

(Cephalopholis nigripinnis)Banded-tail Coral-cod, Blackfin Rockcod, Duskyfin Rockcod Cephalopholis nigripinnis

DIET

The main diet of the Darkfin Hind is small fishes, small cephalopods and crustaceans.  They are ambush predators who vary their diet according to location and availability and as with most groupers pretty much anything moving that can fit into their mouths they will.

REPRODUCTION

Most groupers are found in small groups of a male and several females. Spawning takes place between couples. They are diandric protogynous hermaphrodites and even the adult males have the ability to change to a female if necessary. This allows them to be more resilient to overfishing.

(Cephalopholis nigripinnis)Banded-tail Coral-cod, Blackfin Rockcod, Duskyfin Rockcod Cephalopholis nigripinnis

COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION

The Darkfin Hind is  over fished by subsistence fishermen in Tanzania. Most inshore areas of the Tanzanian coast outside of the Marine Parks are overfished.

DARKFIN HIND CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Serranidae
Genus: Cephalopholis
Species:C. nigripinnis

LITERATURE CITED

Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall, 1993. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p.

EQUIPMENT USED

Canon 7D

Ikelite 7D Housing

Twin Ikelite DS 161 Strobes

Flat Ikelite Lens Port

Ikelite Dual Synch Cord 

Ikelite 5.1 inch Port body

IMAGES

 

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